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Free Materials

Updated: Jan 4

Below are free materials I have made based on themes that have often come up in sessions.


Steps to Building Self-compassion when feeling activated

Both of these take you through how to hold compassionate space for yourself when you have been activated by something in your surroundings. When this happens, you might feel the urge to fight/flee/freeze/fawn, and may be confused as to why you are feeling this way. The most important thing to do in this situation is to hold those feelings compassionately and non-judgmentally, rather than trying to push them away.

Both of these handouts are guided by teachings from Peter Levine's work in trauma healing and Robin Shapiro's work in ego state therapy.

When reacting to a "vague" past threat

This version may be helpful if you know your body is reacting to past situations and not the present moment, but there is not absolute clarity behind what the reaction is about. Sometimes we can logically "know" the current situation is safe, but our body can still feel like it is not. These steps take you through how to reassure your body that you are safe.

Steps to building self-compassion when feeling activated
Download PDF • 101KB

When reacting to a specific past threat

Sometimes when we are activated by past circumstances, we know exactly what our body and nervous system is reacting to, and we find ourselves in a specific past state of fear. In this case, this version may be helpful to use, because it specifically involves nurturing the past version of yourself that feels unsafe now.

Steps to building self-compassion - Ego state copy
Download PDF • 102KB


Window of Tolerance Exploration

This worksheet is meant to help you explore your window of tolerance, which was a term coined by Daniel J. Siegel. Put simply, the window of tolerance is the mental space in which you can be in a stressful situation, and still be grounded enough to manage conflict in a regulated way. When our stress or activation level hits a certain threshold, we step out of our window of tolerance and either into hyper-arousal (a heightened state such as anxiety, anger, hyper-vigilance, etc.), or hypo-arousal (collapsed state such as dissociation, numbness, hopelessness, etc.). When we are outside of our window of tolerance we do not have the same mental resources to manage conflict. This is not a personal failing, it is biological - when in a hyper or hypo-aroused state, the "reasoning" part of our brain is physically less online, so it is important to slow down and prioritize grounding skills to bring us back into the window of tolerance when in these states, instead of continuing to try to manage conflict when we are not at mental capacity to do so. One of the main goals of therapy is to expand the size of the window of tolerance over time.

This is a relatively large topic, but I have found that throughout the journey of getting in touch with our own window of tolerance, and recognizing what takes us out of it and what brings us back, it can be helpful to track these things and to have them in front you. This is especially important when in a state of hyper or hypo-arousal, when it can be hard to mentally remember what is helpful. This worksheet is meant to help you explore these resources for yourself.

As always, everyone's resources are different and unique to them, but these are some examples of activities that can help bring you back into your window of tolerance.

These skills were mainly derived from Marsha Linehan and Lisa Najavits' work, as well as resources I have learned from personal experience and from clients over time.

From hyper-arousal:

  • Deep breathing

  • Sensory grounding (ie. naming 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, 1 you can taste)

  • Dipping your face in cold water

  • Progressive muscle relaxation

  • Verbal or mental reassurances that you are not in danger

  • Sitting with your heightened sensation and breathing into it

  • Self-soothing (ie. comforting scents, music, food, etc.)

From hypo-arousal:

  • Physical movement and intentional focus on your body

  • Walking in nature

  • Stimulation (ie. upbeat music, spicy foods and scents, etc.)

  • Connecting with another person

  • Sensory grounding

You can find more information on the window of tolerance here.

Window of Tolerance (1)
Download PDF • 55KB


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